|Before We Go to War|
|Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor|
|Tuesday, 18 September 2001 18:00|
According to a Los Angeles Times column, in May the Bush administration (represented by Secretary of State Colin Powell) delivered $43 million to the Taliban government. It was and is common knowledge that the Taliban are the largest human-rights violators on the planet.
It was and is also known that the Taliban are knowingly protecting Osama bin Laden, the world’s most notorious terrorist.
With 24-hour-a-day news coverage on the Attack on America and open discussion about a prolonged war most assuredly involving the death of many in our military as well as innocent civilians, the Bush administration needs to answer the following. Why did you give the Taliban $43 million, and what did they do with the money? I am not being unpatriotic by asking this question. I believe it is unpatriotic not to ask this question.
The probable death of our soldiers and innocent civilians should weigh heavily on our minds. It might be unavoidable, in which case I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow Americans and support the action. But the action must be an attempt for justice, not vengeance. Before we act, we still have many questions to be answered. Patriotism is great. But blind patriotism, like blind religious fanaticism, leads to tragedies like September 11, 2001. Informed patriotism leads to justice, and I believe that deep down we all truly want justice.
Editor’s note: The column to which the author refers can be read at (http://www.robertscheer.com/1_natcolumn/01_columns/052201.htm). A CNN report on the aid can be found at (http://asia.cnn.com/2001/US/05/17/us.afghanistan.aid/).
Country Needs to Seek Peace, Not Indulge Hatred
We are a country of many races, many nationalities, people of many religions and people who are nonreligious. The Koran, Jesus, and Buddha all taught that hate is never overcome by hate; hatred is only overcome by love.
Martin Luther King said that we have two choices: to peacefully coexist, or to destroy ourselves. As Americans, we have been insulated from the violence and terror that many, many other people face daily. Certainly, we must seek out and punish the individuals responsible for these terrible acts. At the same time, we must consider whether demonizing whole groups of other human beings (e.g., Palestinians, Muslim fundamentalists) is fair – and whether it will lead to peace.
Today is a time for prayer or thoughtfulness for those who are suffering loss and fear, reflection on what is most important in our lives, and for soul-searching about what steps we might each take toward nonviolence within ourselves and our own lives, and towards a more peaceful world.
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